Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the spring and summer of 1972, George McGovern, a Democratic senator from South Dakota, achieved the seemingly impossible. Backed by a motley collection of Prairie populists, old-school liberals, and young people disenchanted with the war in Vietnam, McGovern overwhelmed longtime party favorites such as Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. However, McGovern's triumph proved to be short-lived; after his initial running mate, Thomas Eagleton, was revealed to have a history of mental illness, the McGovern campaign went into a tailspin from which it would never recover, with the incumbent Richard Nixon winning the 1972 election by a landslide. However, McGovern's campaign is still remembered by many as one of the last examples of a candidate truly triumphing through the will of the people rather than working the party political machine, and given the scandalous downfall of Nixon following his re-election, many have wondered what America would be like today if McGovern, once described by Robert F. Kennedy as "the most decent man in the Senate," had won. One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern is a documentary which looks back at the McGovern campaign and explores what went right, what went wrong, and what was McGovern's true legacy. The film includes interviews with Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Gary Hart, Frank Mankiewicz, Warren Beatty, Gore Vidal, Ron Kovic, and McGovern himself.
history, political-campaign, politician, presidential-candidate, presidential-election